Question #1
What is deaf-blindness:?



DB-LINK, The National Information Clearinghouse on Children Who Are Deaf-Blind. (1999, June 30). [Online]. Available

Edwards, L. E., Goehl, K. S., Gordon, L. A. (1992). Profiles: Individuals With Deaf-Blindness. Terre Haute, I. N.: Indiana Deaf-Blind Service Project

Synthesis of Information

Federal legislation defines deafblind children as those having auditory and visual impairments, the combination of which creates such severe communication and other developmental and learning needs, they cannot be appropriately educated in special education programs solely for children and youths with hearing impairments, visual impairments, or severe disabilities, without supplementary assistance to address their educational needs due to these dual concurrent disabilities (1999).

No two children with deafblindness are alike. There are many possible combinations:

Four critical factors effect the severity of deaf-blindness on a child and his development:


It appears from the various resources I have read that there is no single profile of a child with deaf-blindness. The Federal definition encompasses children with mild vision and hearing losses through profound vision and hearing losses, and everything in between. Most children with deaf-blindness have, and make use of, some vision and hearing. There is a wide range of cognitive and developmental ability among deaf-blind children, from gifted to profound multiple impairments. They can learn to communicate in a variety of different ways and learn to get around their communities independently. Children with this dual impairment can participate in almost any activity, although some adaptations may be needed. They can also be included in almost any teaching and family environment.


Huebner, K. M., Prickett, J. G., Welch, T. R., & Joffee, E. (1995). Hand In Hand: Essentials of Communication and Orientation and Mobility for Your Students Who Are Deaf-Blind. N.Y., N.Y.: AFB Press

Mcinnes, J. M., Treffry, J. A. (1982). Deaf-blind Infants and Children: A Developmental Guide. Toronto, Ont.: University of Toronto Press

NTAC, The National Technical Assistance Consortium for Children and Young Adults who are Deafblind. (1999, June 30) [Online]. Available:


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